M. G. Lord - The History of the Barbie Doll
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December 7, 2010
M.G. Lord is the author of "Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll." A graduate of Yale, Lord was for twelve years a syndicated political cartoonist and columnist based at Newsday. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review, the Arts & Leisure section, and her work has also appeared in such publications as Travel & Leisure, Discover, Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, and The New Yorker. She teaches in the Master of Professional Writing Program at USC. In this program, M.G. discusses the history of the Barbie doll. We talk about the origins of the Barbie doll and the creator, Ruth Handler who snatched the idea from a German "adult" doll with the name Lilli. Then, we examine how the symbolism of this doll, a piece of plastic, has changed and affected women, sexuality and society both in the negative and positive aspects. Topics Discussed: Ruth Handler, Mattel, the Lilli doll, Barbie, sex toy, Lilith, dimensions, Ken, Venus, goddess, Jack Ryan, plastic surgery, eating disorders, symbols, Project Paperclip, subversive novels, modern Barbie, pagan symbolism, distorting sexuality, Cycladic idols, bad gender role models, feminism, twisted masculinity, androgyny, worried mothers, projection, American Girl Dolls, "Midge", Playboy and the manipulation of Edward Bernays.